Sustainability engagement with support for local people

Sustainability engagement with support for local people

Projects in Colombia, Ethiopia and Indonesia

By the time we have reduced our carbon emissions to zero , we will be carbon neutral because we are offsetting our current emissions by funding projects that reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The environmental and social projects we support are located across three continents, including initiatives in Colombia, Ethiopia and Indonesia.

Carbon offsetting – how it works

Through our business activities such as powering our office and travelling to client sites, we produce CO2 emissions. We then offset them by purchasing carbon credits. Each credit represents one ton of CO2 avoided or removed from the atmosphere. To ensure that the projects are credible and of high quality, each carbon credit is certified by independent standardization agencies. Roland Berger purchases only quality credits that meet either the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). All the projects contribute to CO2 reduction by either preventing its release (offsetting) or physically removing it from the air (sequestration).

Our environmental and social projects across three continents

All our projects are united not only by the goal of protecting the climate, biodiversity and natural resources, but also benefiting local people through new economic prospects, better living conditions, sustainable practices and educational initiatives.

The project we support in Colombia is transforming a dry savanna into a thickly forested area that will provide natural resources to the local area as well as serve as a carbon sink. Additionally, it opens up job opportunities for the local community. In Ethiopia, we introduced sustainable, higher-efficiency cooking stoves to rural villages. These stoves require less wood fuel, which drives cost savings and also reduce CO2 emissions. They require less wood fuel, which drives cost savings. And finally, our project in Indonesia harnesses hydropower from rivers to preserve the beautiful Sumatran biosphere. This project boosts the local economy by employing and training local people.

We are carrying out all the above initiatives in partnership with South Pole, a leading project developer and provider of global climate services.

Combating greenhouse gases in Colombia with reforestation

Once a desert, now an oasis. Near the Colombia-Venezuela border lies a remote area that was once a vacant savanna. The initiators of the Vichada Climate Reforestation project saw this land as an opportunity to create a biodiverse forest that would provide a habitat for native plants and animals, while also helping to mitigate the GHG effect.

Located in the Orinoco River basin, now the project-members are transforming the savanna into a forest by combining reforestation and afforestation with biodiversity protection and ecosystem regeneration. The hope is that these forests will produce high-quality hardwoods and sequester large amounts of carbon. As a bonus, these forests will also provide a natural habitat for wildlife, save and filter water, enrich the soil and create a carbon basin.

The project will also generate job opportunities further aiding the local economy. Leadership and development programs are offered to further develop the skillset and training of employees and community members. Furthermore, a multicultural team provides education on climate change and the importance of sustainable practices, so that community members can ensure the new forest’s preservation.


- An average 51,000 tCO2e mitigated each year
- A planting area of approximately 13,205 ha
- A conservation area of approximately 8,090 ha
- 80 new secure jobs created for local community members
- 80 million tree planted (of 3 different species)

A more sustainable cooking method in Ethiopia

Improving health and home. In rural Ethiopia, cooking is typically done over open fires that require large amounts of wood fuel to maintain. The open flames often cause housefires due to the traditional thatched roof homes in Ethiopian villages, and the thick smoke leads to respiratory complications and related illnesses. The need for wood fuel also adds to the deforestation and degradation problems that are ravaging the country. An estimated 141,000 hectares of Ethiopian forest area is cleared every year.

The South Pole project in Ethiopia aids the economy and health of local villages by providing two types of low-cost, high-efficiency cooking stoves to households using the traditional open-fire cooking method. These stoves are manufactured locally and sustainably using materials, such as clay, cement, pumice, and metal. Money earned from the sale of carbon credits goes towards funding the project, and any surplus is passed on to the local community.

The more efficient stoves reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and alleviate the need for a constant supply of freshly cut wood. This greatly improves the quality of the land as surrounding forests are able to thrive and regenerate, bringing more water and healthier soil to farmlands.


- 100,000+ high-efficiency stoves distributed to rural households
- Avg. of 1.11 tons of wood saved per cooking stove
- Improved health of villagers thanks to less cooking smoke
- More time for women to work or attend school
- Around 101,000 tCO2 mitigated per year

Using hydro-energy to save vegetation in Indonesia

Increasing energy access through running water. One of Indonesia’s largest islands, Sumatra is renowned for its lush rainforests coupled with sprawling tropical beaches. The island is home to a wide range of animals, such as orangutans, elephants and tigers. Unfortunately, much of Sumatra’s beauty is being destroyed by deforestation, poaching and a general lack of regard for the ecosystem.

The South Pole project in Sumatra aims to protect this valuable environment by using the power of the Renun River and its tributaries to generate renewable energy. A grid-connected project that utilizes underground pipelines, water is taken from several rivers so as not to over-burden one source and to ensure sufficient downstream water flow. The water-powered energy lessens the need for GHG-emitting fossil fuels.

Measures have also been taken to strike a balance between powering the new sustainable development and protecting the island’s landscape and vegetation. In addition, the project provides job opportunities and training to local people, and the project owner funds many initiatives that directly benefit the community.


- Approximately 313,500 MWh of clean energy is sent to the grid each year
- 30 permanent and 50+ temporary local jobs created
- Creation of a renewable energy infrastructure including turbines, a generation plant and a regulating pond
- An average reduction of 270,000 tCO2 per year

Further readings